Casey Blake expected to begin season on the disabled list

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Casey Blake went for an MRI exam on his injured back last week and the Dodgers said they expected him to miss minimal time, but today manager Don Mattingly indicated to Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com that the veteran third baseman is likely to begin the season on the disabled list.

Blake didn’t get many at-bats before the injury and only has 10 days left to see some game action now, although he hasn’t been cleared to return to the lineup yet anyway.

Juan Uribe is slated to start at second base after signing a three-year, $21 million deal this offseason, but he’ll likely slide over to third base until Blake returns and utility man Jamey Carroll will take his place at second base.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.